The Week in Early American History

TWEAHWelcome to another edition of This Week in American History. It has been a busy, yet troubling two weeks.

We would like to begin by offering our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, of Tufts University. Dr. Schmidt-Nowara died suddenly in Paris on June 27th.

Not surprisingly, the murder of 9 members of the Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Church, there has been a lot of attention among twitterstorians to issues of slavery, racial violence, and the troubling history of the Confederate flag. For those of you who missed Junto colleague Ben Park’s analysis of the shooting and the history of the Church, you can find it here. Other items of interest has been the much-discussed Charleston Syllabus, which was the brainchild of Historian Chad Williams, and is now being curated by Historian and AAIHS contributor Keisha Blain. Award-winning Historian David Blight eulogized Rev. Clementa Pickney, and discussed the country’s long, troubled history when it comes to race. And, inspired by Jon Stewart’s response to the Charleston shooting, Haverford undergraduate student Laura Neckstein used GIS to map the Confederate streets of South Carolina.

There were a couple of recognitions of Juneteenth 150. The Freedman’s Bureau launched its online database of Freedman. In The New York Times, Historian Kenneth C. Davis argued that Juneteenth should be observed by everyone.

In digital history, Texas A&M Press shared a preview of their forthcoming book, Drupal for Humanists. Slate published a haunting new digital history project that captures the voyages of 315 years of slave ship voyages. And, Ryan Cordell posted a preprint of his forthcoming article “Reprinting, Circulation, and the Network Author in Antebellum Newspapers,” based on the work of the Viral Texts Project. It suggests antebellum newspaper reprinting networks were less centralized than a lot of scholarship assumes.

In collections news, the Moravian Records were recovered, which reveal some little-known information about slaves.

In public history, friend of the Junto and Ben Franklin’s World podcaster Liz Covart announced her Boston-By-Foot tour, Taxes, Riots, and Revolution. If you live in the Boston area, or are planning to visit in the near future, this tour is not to be missed!  The Toast interviewed the anonymous tour guide behind the popular Twitter account @AfAmHistFail, who recounts the challenges of discussing the history of slavery with the public. Over on The Guardian, there is a moving interview of an effort to document the battle scars of the Civil War, 150 years out.

In other history news, book dealer Thomas Bredehoft shared his musings on the Crockett Comic Almanac (1840).

In honor of Refugee Week, the Independent discussed the success of Huguenots.

In professional news, the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians announced the 2015 winners and finalists of its annual book and article prize. Heartfelt congratulations to the honorees! And finally, the Organization of American Historians (OAH) affirmed a prior statement made by the American Historical Association (AHA) on changes to tenure in the University of Wisconsin System.


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